You know the Rihanna version. But do you know the version before the Rihanna version?
2. "Irreplaceable" - Beyonce (Sung by Ne-Yo)
In an alternate history, Beyonce's empowerment jam "Irreplaceable" could've been a country tune. When singer/songwriter Ne-Yo first heard the Stargate-produced track, he tells Blackfilm, "they just played the guitar. There was no drums to it and sounded like country western music and when they put the drums on it, it brought it back to the R & B side of things. ... I was thinking about Shania Twain and Faith Hill when I wrote that song." Luckily for Queen Bey, it landed in her lap, not to the left, to the left.
Written by OneRepublic frontman Ryan Tedder, Beyonce's "Halo" almost wound up going to Leona Lewis instead. As Tedder told radio station Key103 in Manchester, England, "Beyonce waited long enough to record that song that I had no communication with her and didn't know if she was going to do it or not. I thought this would be a brilliant first single for Leona, which it would have. When you have a song as special as 'Halo', you don't want anyone else to sit on it. So sometimes you have to pull the whole, 'Well, I'm going to get someone else on it', to prove a point."
5. "Toxic" - Britney Spears (Sung by Cathy Dennis)
Britney Spears' 2004 single "Toxic"was cowritten by Cathy Dennis, who had a career in the '90s as a pop star in her own right before switching to writing full-time. Said Guardian music criticAlexis Petridis of her talent, "Dennis' songs are ostensibly throwaway pop songs but they're not, they're serious. Songs like 'Toxic' completely stick in your head."
6. "Only Girl (In the World)" - Rihanna (Sung by Cristyle)
Rihanna's "Only Girl (In the World)" was co-written by singer/songwriter Crystal Nicole, aka Cristyle. In 2014, she released her debut album, I Am Crystal Nicole, and spoke with the Network Journal regarding the uphill battle many women in the music industry face. "I think it's always going to be tough for women to be taken seriously by other people if they don't take themselves seriously. You're only worth what you're willing to accept. As women, we have to put a higher value on ourselves."
8. "Hold It Against Me" - Britney Spears (Sung by Bonnie McKee)
"Hold It Against Me,"by Britney Spears was cowritten by singer/songwriter Bonnie McKee. In an interview with Billboard, McKee reveals that the song's origin comes from a throwaway joke with Katy Perry. McKee was working on Perry's "Teenage Dream", when Perry entered the studio in a skintight dress. McKee asked, "If I said you had a nice body, would you hold it against me?" The rest is pop music history.
9. "Breakaway" - Kelly Clarkson (Sung by Avril Lavigne)
None other than Avril Lavigne co-wrote Kelly Clarkson's "Breakaway," and originally intended it for her own debut album. As co-writer Bridget Benenate tells SongwriterUniverse, "Avril came over to write with us [and] talked about her life and what things were important to her." Ultimately, the song's style didn't fit Lavigne's image, and the track was passed to Clarkson, who recorded it for The Princess Diaries 2.
10. "Telephone" - Lady Gaga and Beyonce (Sung by Britney Spears)
11. "Umbrella" - Rihanna feat. Jay-Z (Sung by The-Dream)
Introducing the concept of repeating-eating-eating the ends of words Rihanna and Jay-Z's mammoth "Umbrella" traveled a stormy road before settling with RiRI. In an interview with MTV, producer Tricky Stewart and singer/songwriter The-Dream originally offered it to Britney Spears and Mary J. Blige. "Mary's coming off 'Be Without You'; she's nominated for all these Grammys, the whole thing," said Stewart. "So the plan with us, really, was to hold the record to get a response from Mary. By the time [CEO of Rihanna's record label] L.A. Reid and his team got done beating us up, we just couldn't say no."
12. "Party in the USA" - Miley Cyrus (Sung by Jessie J)
Recorded for the Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle soundtrack, Pink's infectious "Feel Good Time" has an eclectic source: genre-hopping musician Beck. "Pink wanted to cover my song, but in the end, she just sang over my original for the single," Beck told the Colorado Daily in 2003. "It's kind of nice having a No. 1 song on MTV vicariously. It's been an interesting time for me and I can definitely relate to the musical landscape. It's shape-shifting, and no one knows where it's going to land."
15. "Nothin' on You" - B.o.B feat. Bruno Mars (Sung by Lupe Fiasco)
B.o.B and Bruno Mars' "Nothin' on You," an ode to beautiful girls all over the world, originally had another rapper onboard: the outspoken Lupe Fiasco. Already fighting his label over control of album Lasers, when Atlantic Records' chairman Craig Kallman told Fiasco his performance on the track was "wack," Fiasco reached the end of his rope. He told the Guardian ,"that was the tipping point. It was less about the bruised ego but more the audacity of it. It was mentally destructive."
16. "Burn" - Ellie Goulding (Sung by Leona Lewis)
Ellie Goulding's "Burn" originally was meant for Leona Lewis' album Glassheart, according to Pop Dust. It was even included in a Rolling Stone album preview before being cut. The publication called Lewis' version an "island groove" and said it represented Lewis' move away from ballads to dancier songs.